David Weinberger Opens Up Data Summit 2023 with How Data Helps Us Navigate the World

The Data Summit 2023 conference opened up focusing on “The World According to Data,” with featured speakers David Weinberger, Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and Author, Christina Leber, principal data software engineer, iRobot, and Dave Mohr, regional VP, Neo4J.

The annual Data Summit conference returned to Boston, May 10-11, 2023, with pre-conference workshops on May 9.

According to Weinberger, AI and the internet are transforming our understanding of how the future happens, enabling us to acknowledge the chaotic unknowability of our everyday world.

But where does the intelligence of data come from? It comes from the world that the data reflects. That's why machine learning models can be so complex, we can't always understand them. The world is the ultimate black box.

“Technology shines a light on the world,” Weinberger said. “As technology changes, how we understand the world changes.”

Data has changed, it used to be comprised of raw material but now, it contains secrets, he explained. There’s an enormous tidal wave of data and it is more “human” than ever before.

“Because of the internet and AI in, weird ways, data has become more humanized,” Weinberger said.

Though there is a deserved reluctance toward AI and its biases that can be created when programming the technology, AI can show uncover the biases, which by nature are hidden from us, he said.

Machines capture the world more than we can ever know. Data is a carrier of meaning he said. Instead of data being the new oil, “caring is the new oil.”

“Data is situated the way we are,” Weinberger said. “It serves and expresses what matters to us.”

The next keynote presented a use case involving iRobot. Leber was joined by a representative from Monte Carlo as they described how iRobot benefitted from Monte Carlo’s data observability platform.

iRobot, the leading global consumer robot company, designs and builds thoughtful robots and intelligent home innovations that make life better for customers across the globe.

Data observability is your company’s ability to fully understand the health of the data in its systems. Healthy—high-quality, reliable, and trusted—data starts with the ability to monitor and understand the five pillars of data observability at each stage of the pipeline.

“Define the problem first, start small, and grow from there,” she said.

Mohr focused on knowledge graph technology, which is a space that can help solve the challenge of unlocking data from multiple silos as legacy systems fail to keep up.

Graph creates a more intuitive view of data relationships, unlocking deeper insights and context, he explained.

“Connections in data are just as valuable as the data itself,” Mohr said. “Those connections allow users to navigate the data.”

Many Data Summit 2023 presentations are available for review at